Wednesday, August 21

What Is a Goodreads Bully?

We have all heard the term. Goodreads Bully!
Many authors have claimed that they have been bullied on Goodreads and now there is even a petition to Goodreads to stop the 'Goodreads Bully.'
But many times I have asked myself What constitutes a Goodreads Bully?

I am one of these people who truly believe that any blogger, reader and reviewer has the right to say what they truly feel about the books they read. Whether that is positive or negative if you have taken the time to read a book then surely it is your own prerogative to write your true feelings about it if you wish.
If you write a negative review does that make you a Goodreads Bully? NO
Does it make you honest? YES

Let Me Tell You a Little About Me:

So if you don't already know I'm Kayleigh and I am self-sworn Book Nerd and Addict. My favourite thing in the world, apart from my dog, is reading. I have an innane love and awe for authors. That they take the time and effort and pour their blood, sweat and tears into books that we can enjoy is the best thing in the world.
If I read a book and adore it I am going to gush and fangirl about it a lot! It's just what I do. Oh and I'm a total book pimp because I'm going to pimp you these books because I want absolutely everyone to read it. Not only because it's a good book but because I think the author deserves recognition as well.

But I myself have been subjected the title of Goodreads Bully before. Did I do anything to warrent this title? Not at all?

So what did I do you ask?
I read a book I really didn't like... and I don't mean I just didn't like it I mean I truly hated it. As much as I would love to say that these books I don't like I'm polite and nice about it and just say 'It's not for me' and I do put that in my reviews of these books but if I only put that it would be, in my opinon, a lie! Because that's not my feelings towards the book.

Take this particular book you all may have heard of: Fifty Shades of Grey
Did I despise this book so much that I barely finished reading it? YES!
And did I write a pretty negative review about it? YES!
And I will tell you why! Whenever I read a book, whether I love it or hate it I always have these intense feelings about books and I always put them in my reviews. What's the point in being a reviewer if you can't do that. And with this particular book I truly hated it!

Did I swear that they author was the worst person ever? NO!
Did I say that it was the worst book I'd ever read and I'd rather scratch my eyes out than continue with the series? YES!
Why? Because that was how I felt!

Does that make me a Goodreads Bully?
Well in my opinion no it does not! I read that book and I had these massive overbearing feelings about it so I wrote them in my review. If I didn't it would have been a lie about how I felt about them and I am nothing if not brutally honest. But I would never.... ever... bash the author! Because it's just something that you don't do! They have worked their hardest for this book and whether I like it or not it doesn't give me the right to wish harm on the author or try to stop their careers.

Everybody Likes and Dislikes Different Things! And That's OK!

It would be a hell of a boring world if everyone liked the same thing. So it's ok if I hated Fifty Shades of Grey and you loved it. We have different tastes and it's cool. Let's just move on without getting nasty about it!

I have never gotten into these discussions about the 'Goodreads Bully' because quite frankly I find the majority of them ridiculous. Many of my blogger friends have been names a 'Goodreads Bully' because they didn't like the book and wrote their honest feelings. Well Woop-de-do! They can write what they want... it's their blog and their review!

So Why am I now sticking my Two Cents In?

Because I came across this:

^Click to read the story!

There are two things about goodreads I seriously cannot stand!

1. Rating before you've even read the book!
I mean WHY? Why must you do that? I see people stating that they rate the book on interest. Well surprise, surprise people there's another way to do that!
If you're interested in it... Add it to you're TBR List
If you're not interested .... DON'T!

2. Bashing authors for no reason!
This is a new author and has been threatened for asking a question!
I mean WTF?

I am genuinelly horrified by this! I mean all she asked was why do people rate them before release because she was new to Goodreads and didn't know and she got attacked so much that she is now not releasing her book! I am disgusted and horrified and I'm sorry but YES that IS bullying!
Goodreads definitely needs to sort itself out and stop this from happening as it is disgusting!

I hope Lauren realises just how much support she has and I really hope at some point she does release her book because I can tell you there are more genuine book and author lovers out there than these trolls who want nothing more than attention and to ruin someone else's life because they obviously haven't got one of their own and have nothing better to do.

By all means if you've read the book and didn't like it write a negative review. Not everyone is going to love it! But this is unacceptable and disgusting.

We are all the same here. We all love books and authors are the reason we get these books so get the stick out of your butt and respect them!


  1. And the case you highlighted above is only a singular one, Kay. There are quite a few instances of not only bullying but also ganging up on authors that I've seen spoken up about. I mean, what the hell is going on with Goodreads. It's getting to the point where authors will soon be too leery to spend any time in there for fear of stepping on the wrong toes. Because, unfortunately, some of these bullies appear to have some serious influence over other members of the site, like some kind of freakin' lynch mob almost. I read about a case only very recently (close before spotting the petition you mentioned last night) whereupon a commenter on a review was bashed not only on the comment feed for the book [review] in question, but also afterward all over freakin' Twitter.
    WTH is that all about?
    I mean, come on, people! Books are supposed to bring people together (because even diverse opinions can have friendly debates, right?), not have them starting the online version of a civil frickin' war.
    And it reached a point where the attackee felt the need to write a blog post to 'apologise in case SHE [herself] had offended anyone].
    On one hand, I understand why she did this. On another, it made me very sad and slightly annoyed.
    So, whilst I haven't read the posts/petitions with regards to stopping the Goodreads bully (yet), I assumed it was directed at these extreme kinds of cases, where total ganging up is occurring and causing some pretty severe upset to the one being ganged up on, not just aimed at more singular cases based on their review. So, to me a bully in Goodreads often has far less to do with the actual review itself, and a whole lot to do with the behaviour following any responses to the review. And, very sadly, this seems to be happening more and more.

    Disclaimer: I'm still tired and have only had one coffee so if I've talked rubbish, I apologise in advance.

  2. I agree with everything you've said. I was disgusted when I heard about what happened to Lauren. As a blogger and reviewer I have to write honest reviews and when I'm rating a book with one star I try to tell why I've done it, but I have never written that I hate an author or that I want something bad to happen to them. I didn't like a book! I have no idea who author truly is. I'm rating a book not a person I don't know a thing about.

    I wish GR Policy would change. People get flagged because of sexy picture in erotica reviews but bullies write hateful, mean and disgusting things and that's ok! I'm on GR every day, I have amazing friends there and I love this site but sometimes I wish people would shut up, I think the problem is some of members are on GR not because of the books but because of the fact they are using it as social networking site like FB.

    I also want to say, that some authors (not Lauren of course) make a lot of drama with their words also. There was a situation few months back when author wrote on Twitter that her readers are stupid to like her erotica book. That wasn't nice also.

    But how can we change nature of some people? It's like in high school all over again. There is always someone to bully others and as much as I hate it and wish it would change I feel like I cannot do anything.

  3. It is absolutely disgusting that things like that happen. I hadn't actually seen that particular case that you just said but I'm horrified just the same. It is unacceptable!

  4. It crosses the territory into bullying when you attack the author or fans of the author. If you hated a book then that's your opinion, but that doesn't give you the right to personally attack someone. I can't believe it's happened to you Kayleigh. That's really sad.

  5. Thank you for commenting and I agree. I love Goodreads I have made some amazing friends on there but it is truly frightening to see these kind of people on there. And yes I heard about that author on twitter. It was just awful to call your fans stupid! I haven't read any of her stuff before and unless one really catched my eye I don't think I will.

  6. Thank you Jo-Anne. And you know me I would never ever attack the author. I state my views and feelings on the book and that is all.

  7. OK Ive seen authors being attacked on goodreads and Ive seen readers being attacked on there too but this is a new low. How can a supposed book lover do this. To attack an author simply because she asked a simple question is bullying in the extreme. I never understood how a book can be rated before anyone read it. I mean why would you? I agree with you Kay, add it if you are interested. Its disheartening to see it happen!! Im sorry you have had it done Kay :(

  8. Yeah, I've read the story yesterday and I was so horrified and chocked! And I stated that in my review and now my review is flagged because it's inappropriate. I mean, seriously? People can say such horrible things in their review and put the book on so many horrible shelves but I can't support the author? That seriously messed up.

  9. Oh, wow. I just read that story and I'm seriously shocked that not only is Goodreads not doing anything but also that these people clearly think it's funny/cool to behave this way. I mean, seriously? This is what people are doing with their spare time? It's disgusting and pathetic and I'm horrified for Lauren. The whole thing must be so emotionally exhausting for her.

    I've never understood negative ratings for books people haven't read. If I like the sound of a book I add it to my TBR list. If I don't like the sound of a book then I move on. SIMPLE!

    I've heard some people justifying the negative ratings by saying that it stops Goodreads suggesting that book/similar ones to them. Clearly they've never thought to click the little 'not interested' button that is available when Goodreads suggests stuff for you :/

    It's so infuriating because it means that a book might be AWESOME, but because a few plonkers don't like the sound of it, the ratings go down and a lot of potential readers end up dismissing it because it has such low ratings. It drives me crazy!

    - Allie @ Little Birdie Books

  10. Great post, Kay. I just don't get bullies period. What is wrong with people that they feel the need to hunt down, belittle and basically terrorize someone (on the internet or otherwise)? It's truly ridiculous. I hate hearing these stories and after reading what Kate posted yesterday, I really question my membership on sites like Goodreads.

  11. Dude, Loooooove this post! I've written a few reviews for books I really didn't like and they might have been mean but I never bashed the author. I simply stated why I didn't like it. The real Goodreads bullies disgust me, do they not have lives? Great post!

  12. Jen-Jenuine Cupcakes21 August 2013 at 20:50

    Well said. There is definitely a difference between "dislike" and "bullying" and what happened to this author is most definitely bullying. It's also extremely disheartening. Goodreads needs to put in their big girl panties and put a stop to this kind of behavior because not only does it reflect horribly on the people saying these things, but on Goodreads for allowing it.

  13. Totally agreed... while I've never had to deal with, or really seen much of the bullying in person, I've heard about so much of it that I'm too nervous to engage in even random discussions, in case it somehow is taken the wrong way and affects my books or those of people I work with.

  14. I loved your post, Kay! It's a timely topic as bullying seems to have escalated from playgrounds to workplaces, to social media sites and even reading communities... argh. There is this idealistic part of me that says, "can't people just be kind to one another?!' but then again, not everyone is a kind person. However, we can be objective as you pointed out. When I've reviewed books that I didn't like, I don't post it if it rates under three. However, like you, I give detailed, thoughtful feedback that will help inform the reader and the writer. If some of that feedback is in areas I wish the writer had done things a little differently, then that isn't bullying. It is constructive. It all in how you say it. But the horrible story you shared where an aspiring author was attacked for asking an innocent question on Goodreads... that is out and out bullying. I'm so glad you used your wide reach, Kayleigh, to draw attention to the situation. I hope your influence will raise awareness and right this wrong. I'm going to retweet a link to this terrific post!


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